Register with the Department of Revenue and get a business license if you meet any of the following conditions:
- Your business requires city and state endorsements.
- You are doing business using a name other than your full name legal name.
- You plan to hire employees within the next 90 days.
- You sell a product or provide a service that requires the collection of sales tax.
- Your gross income is $12,000 per year or more.
- Your business is required to pay taxes or fees to the Department of Revenue.
- You are a buyer or processor of specialty wood products.
- Your business meets Nexus threshold reporting requirements.
If your business structure will be one of the following, you must file with the Washington Secretary of State before filing the Business License Application:
- Washington (Domestic) Corporation
- Washington (Domestic) Partnership
- Washington (Domestic) Liability Company
- Washington (Domestic) Limited Liability Partnership
If you’re ready to start your business, you need to apply for your business license. Complete the Business Licensing Wizard to receive a list of agencies to contact, additional endorsements and helpful tips about your business license. When you receive your business license, you’ll be assigned a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number. This number is unique to your business, and you’ll need it whenever you file your taxes or make changes to your business.
How to apply
- Start a scenario using the Business Licensing Wizard. You will have the option to Apply Now using our secure online system, or expand the By Mail to download and complete all the forms listed.
- Apply online applications will take approximately 10 business days to process. If you have city or state endorsements, it may take an additional 2-3 weeks to receive your business license due to approval time. Create an online account in our secure My DOR system. This account will also be used to file your taxes and make changes to your business.
- By mail complete the Business License Application, along with any additional forms, and payment to the address on the form. Mailed applications can take up to six weeks to process.
- The application fee for a Business License Application varies; see instructions on how to determine your processing fee. There are additional fees for each additional endorsement. See our city and state endorsements for fees and descriptions.
What happens next?
After your application is approved, you will receive information from some or all of the following agencies:
Department of Revenue
- You will need to file an excise tax return monthly, quarterly, or annually, even if you have no business to report for a period. The department will assign you a filing frequency when you apply.
- You will receive a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number that you will need to use when you file your taxes or make changes to your business.
You will receive your business license, with any endorsements listed. Do not begin any business activity until you receive this license. Post the license at each business location.
Employment Security Department and the Department of Labor & Industries
- If you are hiring employees, submit quarterly reports for all active accounts, even if you have no employees and “0” active hours at any time.
Federal, state, and local requirements
You should also see if there are any other state or local agencies you need to contact. The Business Licensing Wizard gives you some of this information, but here are some additional resources:
- Check the city/town where your business will be located for any additional requirements.
- Check the complete list of licenses at Department of Licensing.
- Corporations must register with Secretary of the State, you will also need to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- Contractors – check out additional requirements and information about your licensing process.
- Using music in your business? There are copyright laws that may require you to purchase a license to use in your business, whether it is prerecorded, streamed, played by a live band, or used for karaoke. Read more about copyright laws and where to purchase a license.